Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

February 7, 2013

CHS Boys Hoops: Big game Friday night in Nacogdoches

Tigers can clinch first playoff spot in 5 years with win

The Tigers should be used to life on the road after playing in tough environments at Jacksonville and John Tyler in the last week.

That should come in handy Friday night with a chance for Corsicana to clinch a playoff spot.

The Tigers (21-9, 3-5) will play Nacogdoches (13-13, 2-6) in a game that is a must-win situation for the Dragons if they want to stay in the race for fourth place in District 16-4A (the game will broadcast in KAND-AM 1340).

Corsicana doesn’t have the same pressure — the Dragons have the tougher final regular season game Tuesday against Whitehouse while the Tigers get Lindale — but Don Newton’s team wants to get this done now.

“We’ve had good practices and we’re ready to go,” Newton said.

The Tigers should be prepared for anything away from home after playing competitive road games against 16-4A’s top two teams, Jacksonville and John Tyler.

Corsicana lost to undefeated Jacksonville 54-44 last Friday in a game that was tied late in the third quarter. The Tigers trailed at John Tyler on Tuesday night by 16 points and cut the lead to six with under a minute to go before the Lions pulled away for a 57-47 win.

“We’ve grown up more in these two losses than we have all year,” Newton said. “We’ve been extremely competitive on the road against highly touted teams. We haven’t shied away from the environment.”

Jacksonville is especially tough place to play — its an old gym and the Indians are 31-0. The Tigers never buckled against the pressure. Then they refused to quit against John Tyler.

“We’re in it,” Newton said. “We’re in it for the long haul.”

If anything, the Tigers can’t take anything for granted against Nacogdoches even knowing they played Jacksonville and John Tyler tough. Corsicana blasted the Dragons 58-32 at Tiger Gym in late January.

The Tigers’ bench had a huge effort in that win, combining to score 31 points. Alonzo Gipson had nine points. Tedrick Wilson and Ralph Watts each had eight points. Daniar Martin had five points.

So if one of the Tigers’ top scorers such as Mike Lewis, Dzifa Mallet or Ernest McGhee get in foul trouble, Corsicana should have an answer off the bench.

The troubles that pop up on the road can be dealt with by the Tigers.

“I don’t think our kids have a problem adjusting home or away,” Newton said. “Our percentages have been the same in our gym and on the road. (The Dragons) are playing for their playoff lives. I’m sure they’ll be ready.”

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